A mother in Hawaii is in a coma following an appointment to have her wisdom teeth taken out.
The New York Daily News reports that Kristen Tavares, 23, of Hilo, Hawaii, went into cardiac arrest during surgery by Dr. John Stover, her dentist. They also report that Dr. Stover has had 4 complaints filed against him since 2010 for other dental and medical violations.
According to Tavares' boyfriend, Chauncey Prudencio, she was in the middle of the procedure to have her wisdom teeth removed when she went into cardiac arrest. The team on site used a defibrillator to restart her heart, and she was flown to a hospital. She is still in a coma and on a breathing machine. Her brain is swollen and her heart is too weak for any other medical procedures.
Tavares and Prudencio have two children together, the youngest of which is only 3 months old.
Two of the complaints that had been filed against Dr. Stover in the past have ended up being dismissed for lack of evidence. The other two are recent enough to still be pending investigation.
Stover did have the proper permits to use full anesthesia in his practice.
There are two common reasons why something like this might happen. A patient is lying on his back during such a procedure. There is always the possibility that a tooth or other piece of material, such as gauze, might fall into the patient's airway and block it.
Another has to do with the procedures of and before anesthesia is administered. There is a certain amount of time that anesthesiologists will wait after a person has eaten before administering anesthesia. A patient could vomit up stomach contents and end up with fluid in their airway or lungs.
The Portland Press Herald reported a mysterious death of a local teen whose condition deteriorated after he had oral surgery. Even in such a case as that, the frequency of death due to surgical complications is very low. Any complications, such as allergic reactions to medications, only occur in 2 or 3 out of every 100,000 cases.
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